Album release: Running Still by Charlie Winston
Release date: 28 January 2013
Label: Real World Records
Listen on: Official website
- “Immaculately crafted” – Q
- "If Chris Martin ditched Coldplay and took to the road with a more rootsy outfit, he might come up with something like Hobo" - Daily Express
- "The Chaplin look complements a quirky, bluesy musical style" – The Telegraph
- "A worthy contender for la petite sensation de 2010 in the UK" – The Guardian
- "Charlie Winston is set to be very big indeed" – Record Collector
- "Lyrically, vocally and musically compelling...Full flavoured, deep and rich in quality" - Maverick
- "We predict great things for this album – and Charlie" – Stylist
- “What took us so long to catch on?” – Star Magazine
- “It would be a loss for us if Winston were to be consigned to the list of artists who only cracked it abroad…” - BBC online
Following up the breakthrough of his 2009 album Hobo, a No. 1 success in Europe and Canada, Running Still finds Charlie Winston and his richly-talented band in collaboration with producer Tony Berg (Aimee Mann, Michael Penn) to reach new emotional and sonic colours.
“My sole objective on the album was to be able to engage people’s feet first and slowly rise to the mind,” he says. “So by the time they get absorbed in the lyrics, they’re fully engaged but realize there’s something more going on.”
Opener Hello Alone makes for an inviting call, a shared solitude, if you will, that’s at the root of the art experience. But the next song, Speak to Me, makes it clear that no one should limit Winston in terms of expectations, the all-vocal beat-boxed tour de force showing one of his many facets, with more to come. The snappy Happiness offers soulful yearning, She Went Quietly is a searching piano ballad (inspired by a heart-wrenching tale of separation involving his great aunt and, to lesser though crucial extent, the movie Million Dollar Baby). Until You’re Satisfied is ‘80s-referencing pop-funk celebrating Winston’s Prince fandom. Lift Me Gently is a stand out track for Peter Gabriel – “An amazing song, and possibly the best Charlie has ever written….” Wild Ones is charging blues-rock, Rockin’ in the Suburbs is all vibrant energy … and that’s just part of the picture. Not a surprise given that Winston also, with natural ease, refers to such diverse inspirations as Nick Cave, Steve Reich and Jacques Brel (and T.S. Eliot, Wim Wenders and Ingmar Bergman, for that matter) in discussing the album.
“It’s near impossible for me to write in one style only,” says singer/songwriter Charlie Winston. “And today in my generation of songwriting, there’s a bit of a lack for me. People have forgotten the power of song, since the technology swept through, and how it carries. Coming from parents who are songwriters, that’s my No. 1 thing, really.”
That latter reference would be to the 1960s English folk duo Jeff and Julie. And arguably, Running Still is the album to which his whole life has been leading. Winston was raised by his parents in their small East Anglia hotel, which he describes as “Fawlty Towers, but with a family” - with two bars and a ballroom, hosting a constant stream of musical, theatrical and comedy performers. He says he was the “cheerful” one of the four children, responding to his father’s coercion to entertain.
“He bribed me to learn how to juggle and ride unicycles and all that at eight years old!” he says. “My brothers Tom and Jo had their own band, so I was watching them do their thing. At 10 years old both my sister and I got piano lessons and my musical world started to be developed.”
Charlie’s teenage dream was to be an actor, but music pulled at him. His first band, when he was 15, had a brass section for which he got into writing parts. A love for all sorts of jazz intensified - complementing what had been a pre-teen obsession with hip-hop, through which he learned to beat-box, as heard on Speak to Me, Wild Ones and Hello Alone.
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